|Mon Aug 18 2014 21:13:45|
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
By: Ina Steiner
|eBay is putting in place a number of programs both here and abroad to increase the ease with which foreign shoppers can purchase items from U.S. sellers on eBay.com. But sellers feel such programs don't always allow them full control over where their items may end up in the world. For sellers of antiques and vintage goods, this can be particularly problematic.|
Many sellers are by now familiar with the eBay Global Shipping Program, which in some cases sellers were enrolled without realizing it when they accepted eBay's User Agreement updates. And in the Fall Seller Release announced last week, eBay announced a new program that all sellers should be aware of:
Starting in late September, buyers in select countries will be shown an international shipping option with end-to-end international tracking on eligible listings. This option will be shown on listings where the seller hasn't already specified an international shipping service. Note this update does not apply to your listings if you are currently enrolled in the Global Shipping Program or have previously opted out of the program - if so, all of your current preferences will stay the same.
In tomorrow's (Tuesday's) Newsflash, we report on new shipping membership programs in Latin America where buyers pay U.S. sellers the cost of domestic shipping within the U.S. to a mail-forwarding company in Florida or Texas, which then forwards the package to Latin American shoppers with no extra charge for international shipping. (Think of them as akin to Amazon Prime Shipping.)
But in eBay's eagerness to make it easier for international shoppers to buy from its marketplaces, it may have an adverse impact on antiques, collectibles and vintage items.
For example, there are some legal/regulatory restrictions on exports and imports. Kenneth Corbin wrote about items that arrive at the GSP warehouse in the U.S. for forwarding, but are rejected due to such restrictions, leading to a poor buyer experience. (The ones I remember perusing were vintage signs and other collectibles, which for some reason must have been restricted from being sent to the country of the buyer.)
A reader pointed out another challenge - she packs certain fragile items differently if she knows the item is being sent overseas. But even if sellers can figure out that one of their items is going to a mail-forwarding address in the U.S. for a foreign destination, they would have to eat the cost of any extra packaging to ensure the item would survive the rigors of the journey.
Should eBay be required to notify sellers when one of their items is being purchased for domestic shipment with the aim of sending it abroad? Should it give sellers the option of opting out on a case-by-case basis once an order is placed? Let us know what you think, and if you've had success (or challenges) with eBay's cross-border trading programs.
Should eBay give more control to sellers when it designs and implements cross-border shipping programs?
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